Tuesday 31 March 2015

Giethoorn - the village with no roads

In the rented car, the three of us set out to Giethoorn, 120km north east of Amsterdam, known as Venice of the North, or Dutch Venice.
On the way there through the A6 and A1  we came across a lot of fields full of wind turbines.

Fields of wind turbines

Giethoorn was founded in 1230 by Mediterraneans fleeing religious prosecution, and the name comes from the discovery of goat's horns (gietehorens) in the marshland, which were remnants of a 10th century flood.

The town became known after 1958, when a Dutch film director used the village in his comedy "Fanfare", turning it into a tourist attraction.

Nowadays there are about 2600 people living in the farmhouses from the 18th and 19th century which boarder the canals, and the only way to get around most of the village is by boat, bicycles and bridges that cross over the canals. 

Being winter the tourists weren't there, the boats were packed away, and there was only a tour boat operating and a couple of private electric dinghies for hire either from the restaurants or from private people. The town has a couple of Museums, but we actually didn't get to visit them. There is also a holiday park with bungalows, which must be quite popular in Summer.

The main road bordering the main Canal
We started by having lunch at the first restaurant we came across - Rietstulp - and we loved the set lunch menu comprising of soup, meat and dessert for 17,50 Euros. The young man in charge of the restaurant was very knowledgeable about world affairs, languages, etc., and we enjoyed having a chat with him.

After lunch, we decided on a private boat ride and were indicated a house where we could hire a boat for 20Euros to ride during 1h following a set route on the map. 

We had a great time, cruising the canals, looking at the beautiful thatched houses, the ducks and the birds...Magic!!

Lots of bridges criss crossing the canals

Beautiful thatched houses

My husband and I enjoying our canal ride

My daughter and my husband, while I moved to the front to take the photo

wildflowers in a corner garden

The map showing the canal route for the 1h trip

After we handed back the boat, we needed some warming up due to the cold wind, and returned to the same restaurant where we had lunch. 
Coffee, mint tea (with real leaves) and Gluhwein were our choices. You can see how beautifully served they were, with a special candied stick to stir the tea, and a small cup of cream and caramel for the coffee, plus a cookie on each plate.

Mint Tea and Coffee

The inside of the  Rietstulp Restaurant - I loved the saying on those plaques

What a great day we had! 
I would love to be able to go to Giethoorn again during summer to experience the different atmosphere. 
We arrived in Amsterdam just in time for dinner and to pack our bags for our flight to Portugal the following morning.

Saturday,28 February 2015


  1. Sami - What a quaint, lovely town! Your pictures are excellent and I really enjoyed the tour. Ugh...another addition to my bucket list! ~Terri

  2. Thanks Terri, it was so beautiful, I really would also love to return one day!

  3. I wouldn´t want to live there, but for a holiday it sure is very nice with all those thatched houses! And such a nice, blue sky. Some wise and not so wise words on the wall :-)
    Glühwein, bummer!

    1. I agree, it's a bit too small to live there and not that many amenities, but nice for a holiday for sure! Well, I had the Gluhwein, as it had been many, many years since I last drank it!

  4. As filhas são todas iguais - também levei lá a minha mãe. ;-))
    A Sami e a sua filha mais parecem irmãs. Estão muito giras nas fotos, as duas!

    1. Que engracado Sandra, pois a minha filha so soube desta vila recentemente quando outro casal Portugues lhe falou dela. Obrigada pelo elogio.

  5. A milha filha está hoje de visita a Amesterdão. Enviei-lhe uma cópia do seu blogue para ter algumas referências da vossa viagem. Que pena estar lá a chover! Em Portugal está um belíssimo dia...

    1. Obrigada pela visita Manuel. A sua filha vai gostar da cidade, apesar de achar que Lisboa e muito bonita, Amesterdao e muito excitante e mais cosmopolita. E claro o clima nao se pode comparar, mais quentinho em Portugal!

  6. I think you choose the right season for the visit. I was there two years ago in summer and you had to walk in rows of tourists over the little paths and bridges. There were so many boats in the water, they had to wait to get on. Loved your post and now to Portugal, a country I also love.

    1. And I thought it might be nicer to visit in Summer, but you are right, we didn't have to fight for space and could cruise the canals in peace. Great!

  7. Cruising the canals in Europe has always been appealing Sami, such a shame I have to get in a plane to get there :) I'll just go back up to the beginning and enjoy your gorgeous shots all over again :)

    1. Yes, Europe is so far away....I think I would probably fly there more often if it weren't for the distance and the jet lag afterwards...

  8. Dearest Sami,
    Another surprise here. One of my late aunts came from Giethoorn! You captured the city beautiful and a pleasure to visit this post.
    Wishing you a good Holy Week and Happy Easter.

    1. What a coincidence Mariette that you had family roots there. What a pretty place.
      Have a wonderful Easter too.


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